Anytime a friend asks me if I want to meet up for dinner, I instantly start racking my brain trying to find a place that’s cheap, but not so cheap that it’s obvious that I only suggested it because of its obvious cheap factor. This excludes places with counter service, places that serve only falafel or dumplings, and places that give a free pizza with every beer (which, in my personal opinion, is one of the greatest things NYC has to offer).
Fortunately, I had assumed The Meatball Shop and all of its meaty ball goodness was one of the off-limits places until I walked by and saw that it was actually a really charming, albeit cramped, new LES restaurant. The menu was simple and consistently affordable (no more than $9 for an entree) to the point that I didn’t even have to plan in advance what I could afford to order just like a normal person with a normal salary! It was new and weird, but I liked it. The menu is pretty straightforward; each customer checks off a box next to what type of meatball (ie spicy pork, veggie, etc), sauce (ie traditional tomato, parmesan cream, etc) and if your dish allows, what second cheese topping you would like to make the meal next level.
I got The Smash ($8)- two meatballs of my choosing on a sandwich roll – which came with a side salad and the kind of taste explosion my ‘buds have been dreaming about. My pal got “Everything But the Kitchen Sink” – 3 meatballs over greens ($8), and couldn’t finish it all despite wanting to very badly. All sides (choose from 12!) are only $4 a pop and more than enough for two people; we split the tender risotto.
We didn’t drink, but beers and wine seem to be specially curated with the heavy meal in mind, especially the option for a small glass of beer at only $3. I also want to get dessert when I go back, where $4 allows you to choose your cookie and ice cream flavors for a customized homemade sandwich (I’m thinking brownie and mint. NOM!). No matter what you decide to get, this spot will prove the power in keeping it simple… especially when it involves giant slices of fresh mozzarella cheese.
The Meatball Shop
84 Stanton Street (between Allen and Orchard)
[Lower East Side]
Photo Credit: The Meatball Shop